Correcting Others


I am having trouble locating scriptural support for correcting others who are mired in sin. I was certain Paul told someone that he was correcting them so that he would no longer be responsible for their sins. I was also sure there was a corollary OT verse (Ezekiel?) stating that the righteous person would be responsible for the unrighteous’ sins if the righteous person did not speak up and correct them. For some reason, I can’t find the right key word to locate either of these in my concordance. Any help would be appreciated.


Hi forthright,

Have a look at Matthew 18
as well as 1st Thessalonians 5:11-15 and 2nd Timothy 4:1-4 and then 2nd Timothy 3:16 which says:
“16 All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, 17 That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.”

The also one needs to remember 1st Corinthians 13.

My own thought is that I should very much follow the golden rule: Luke 6:31 And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them in like manner.

It’s best not to hand out what you wouldn’t wanna get from someone else.
Pax tecum,


Thanks - I have no intention of being rude or uncharitable. These are good references for general correction for the benefit of others. However, I was specifically looking for references that indicated if you don’t correct someone, then you share in their guilt.


Try the readings from September 4, 2005:

Also please read this:


1Cor. 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

This is the closest verse I could find that matches your inquiry about Paul correcting others lest he “should be a castaway”.

I think what you are referring to is not in the NT but the OT:

Ezek. 3:21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.


Ezek. 33:8-9
8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.


[quote=forthright] I can’t find the right key word to locate either of these in my concordance.

You have an electronic concordance? Any way of getting a copy of it?


I typically use the USCCB website search engine:


It’s a little difficult because is searches notes and introductions, as well as the Bible text itself, but it’s good for us cheapskates who can’t afford something of our own.


My DH is always reminding me of this one.
:o Oops I am 100% sure that when a man/woman speaks they are talking about themselves.:o
I really have to go along with this important idea. The Golden Rule is a real keeper.


Is this it?

Acts 20:26-27 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

Ezekiel 3:18: If I say to the wicked, `You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.


Dear Mr. Keating and contemplative:

I honestly do not know where to begin with this reply. A certain part of me (the egotistical part, perhaps) wishes to respond to the insinuations made. A certain part of me wants to bring this back to the purpose of my original post. Finally, a certain part of me wants to sigh and shake my head on why there is even a debate over this.

I thought I was fairly coherant before, but please let me reiterate to remove all doubt. I am not claiming to be perfect. I am not even claiming to be better, either morally or otherwise, than Mr. Keating. I just wanted to offer some constructive criticism. As I have said before, I believe Mr. Keating’s work has been of tremendous benefit to the Catholic community, but that does not and should not mean that he is perfect.

In all honesty, I am not looking for applause. I am not looking to change who you are, oppress you, take away your freedom of speech, or force you to please me. I just want Mr. Keating to be more effective. If my taking my advice would not make Mr. Keating’s work more effective, then please disregard it. If my previous posts gave any indication that my intent was anything other than honest and open constructive criticism, then I apologize - the fault is entirely mine.

There is more I would like to say regarding the manner in which I was responded to. However, for the sake of discretion, I will not post it here in this public forum. If Mr. Keating is interested in carrying on the discussion privately, he can send me a private message to that effect. I am aware that Mr. Keating has tremendous demands on his time, so I will not hold a grudge if he is not interested.

Finally, Mr. Keating, I still hold you up as a role model. Just because I feel that there is one point on which I could offer advice, does not mean that there are not many more points on which I could learn from you. If I disregarded everyone who was imperfect, who on Earth could I look up to anymore?


Thanks AHS - the one in Acts was throwing me because I thought it was in one of Paul’s epistles.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit